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Home security tips for Airbnb hosts

Headshot of Kate Herrick
Researched by
Headshot of Eric Paulsen
Reviewed by
Eric PaulsenContent Manager
Updated 3/29/23

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There are lots of security factors to take into account as an Airbnb host—how to let the right people in (guests, cleaners, property managers), how to keep the wrong people out (burglars, thieves), and how to keep an eye on things even when you’re not there without invading your guests’ privacy. Read on for tips for locks, cameras, and personal safety to make hosting safer and easier for you.

Home security when you have guests

Keyless door lock

Giving your guests access to your home is one of the most important—and potentially trickiest—parts of hosting. A keyless door lock eliminates a lot of the problems you and your guests might encounter. Emailing or texting guests a code to unlock a door is much easier than handing off a physical key, especially if you’re not close to the Airbnb property. Keypad door locks often allow for dozens of codes at a time (even more than you’d likely need), and you can preprogram them so that each new guest gets a new code that works for only the length of their stay. Additionally, you can give a recurring code to your cleaners or anyone else who routinely needs access to the property.

We recommend looking for a lock that connects to your phone via Wi-Fi. There are lots of door locks that use Bluetooth to unlock the door when your phone comes in range, but that’s not necessarily helpful to your guests. A Wi-Fi door lock gives you access to the door at all times and makes it easy to create or delete access codes. You can also receive alerts when the door is unlocked, letting you know who’s coming and going.

There are tons of keyless door lock options out there, but here are a few popular ones:

RemoteLock OpenEdge

  • Connects via Wi-Fi to your phone for remote access
  • Doesn’t require an additional hub or controller
  • Specifically integrates with Airbnb booking technology

Kwikset Halo Wi-Fi Smart Lock

  • Connects to Wi-Fi for remote access; no additional hub required
  • Assign/delete entry codes and see all lock activity on your phone
  • Connects to smart home assistants (Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant)

Ultraloq U-Bolt

  • Commercial-grade deadbolt
  • Requires an included Wi-Fi Bridge (which plugs in and connects the door lock to your home Wi-Fi network) to connect to your phone remotely
  • Easy installation and setup

Key lock box

Another way to hand off a key remotely is to use a key lock box. These come in a wide variety of styles, but essentially you can give your guest the lock box code or combination and they can retrieve the key from inside the box (and return it when they check out). If you live nearby or have a property manager, you’ll want to look for a lock box with an easily resettable combination. If you live far away, consider a smart lockbox that will let you change the code remotely for each new guest.

Here are some key lock boxes people recommend:

Master Lock 5400

  • Padlock-style lock that attaches to a door handle
  • No smart features
  • Easily resettable combination

Igloohome Keybox 3 Smart Lockbox

  • Padlock-style lock that attaches to a door handle
  • Remote access for owners
  • One-time, duration, or recurring codes for users

Video doorbell

Another way to accommodate your guests remotely and protect your property is to install a video doorbell. This is an added layer of home security for your property when it’s unoccupied. Depending on your doorbell’s settings, you can be alerted anytime anyone is on the doorstep, communicate with your guests through the camera, and watch for suspicious behavior from would-be thieves and burglars.

Also, be aware that in addition to the initial cost of the device, many doorbell cameras require a monthly fee for video cloud storage and advanced features.

Here are a few video doorbell recommendations:

Ring Video Doorbell

  • Connects to Wi-Fi for mobile monitoring
  • Alerts you to detected motion
  • Ring Protect plans give you saved video history

Wyze Wireless Video Doorbell Pro

  • Easy to install and connect to Wi-Fi
  • Alerts you to detected motion
  • Cam Plus plan gives you more control over motion alerts

Eufy Video Doorbell

  • Easy to install and connect
  • Has two-way audio for communication with guests
  • No monthly fees but requires a micro-SD card for local storage


Security cameras are an effective way to keep an eye on your property, but as a host, it’s essential that you understand where you can place cameras. Airbnb is very clear that cameras can be placed only in public spaces (like the front door or driveway) or common areas in the home. Cameras cannot be installed in private areas or sleeping spaces, including bedrooms, bathrooms, or rooms that could be used for sleeping (like a living room with a sofa bed). (1) Additionally, any cameras that are installed in your property must be disclosed to your guests in the listing description, and hidden cameras are strictly prohibited—and may even be illegal. (2)

That being said, if you do want a camera in an indoor common area or to monitor an outdoor public space without installing a full home security system, here are some popular ones:

Canary View Indoor Camera

  • Connects directly to your phone via Wi-Fi; no hub required
  • Optional motion alerts
  • Works with most smart home speakers
  • No monthly fee for basic features; $9.99/month for video history and person detection

Arlo Pro 4 Outdoor Camera

  • Connects directly to your phone via Wi-Fi; no hub required
  • Has a built-in spotlight for nighttime viewing
  • High-quality picture and wide-angle view
  • Easy wireless installation

Smoke/CO detectors

Airbnb strongly recommends installing both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on your property, especially if you have fuel-burning appliances in your home. Airbnb will even send you a free detector, but remember that you’ll most likely need more than one to safely monitor your home. We suggest that all of your detectors be the same brand so they can be wired together (i.e., if one detects smoke, they all go off).

Airbnb tip

Be sure to regularly check that your listing meets state laws and regulations for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

The most important thing is to have smoke/CO detectors installed, but here are some features to consider that can increase safety and convenience for you:

  • Combination detectors: Lots of smoke detectors include carbon monoxide detectors, and combining the two can save you money.
  • Wi-Fi connection: Smart detectors can connect directly to your mobile device so you’ll know if the alarm goes off, even from a distance.
  • Multiple ways to turn a detector off: Smoke detectors that have several ways to turn them off (like a physical button on the detector, verbally, or from your phone) are more convenient both for you and your guests.

Here are a couple of popular smoke/CO detectors:

Google Nest Protect

  • Split-spectrum smoke alarm
  • Connects via Wi-Fi for mobile alerts
  • Connects to Google Home

X-Sense Wi-Fi XS01-WT

  • Combination smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector
  • Easy to install and connect via Wi-Fi
  • Mobile app allows you to silence the alarm and get real-time notifications

Other safety features

A couple of additional safety features can go a long way toward giving your guests a sense of security. For example, be sure to have contact information on hand for local police, hospitals, and other emergency responders, and stock your property with basic first aid supplies and make them easy to access.

A guest safe at your property is another great perk, especially if you tend to have guests coming from far away, from out of the country, or for extended stays. People who are on a long trip will appreciate having a safe place to store valuables and personal documents (like passports). There is a wide range of options, from basic to extra secure, but we recommend finding a safe with a lock that can be easily programmed by your guests (and have clear instructions for doing so), and one that can be bolted to either the floor or the wall so no one can walk off with the safe. Don’t worry about getting a large safe—cash and passports won’t take up much space—and it’s unlikely that you’ll need one that’s waterproof or fireproof.

We recommend finding a safe that fits your budget; here are a couple that will get you started:

SereneLife Compact Safe Box

  • Easy to mount on the floor or wall
  • Two locking bolts for extra security
  • Opens with access codes or manual keys

Stalwart Electronic Safe Box

  • Programs with both master and guest codes
  • Small and easily bolted to the floor or wall
  • Built-in alarm will sound after several incorrect attempts to open the safe

Home security when you don’t have guests

A full home security system is a great way to protect your Airbnb property when guests aren’t there, especially if it’s occupied sporadically or on a seasonal basis. Keep in mind that you’ll want to avoid arming the system when guests are there (there’s nothing worse than accidentally tripping an alarm you can’t turn off), so being able to turn it on or off easily is really important. As such, a DIY system that you monitor yourself might be your best fit; take a look at our best DIY home security systems for ideas to get started.

Whether you’re interested in a whole-home security system or piecing together the basic equipment, here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re deciding on a home security system:

  • How many entrances/exits are there, and how will you monitor them? Doorbell cameras, door sensors, and outdoor cameras are a good way to do that, particularly if you opt against professional-monitoring services.
  • Are there any windows that could be vulnerable to burglars? Window sensors, motion detectors, or glass break sensors are easy to install.
  • A smart thermostat can help you monitor the temperature of your property and save you money on heating/cooling, and flood/freeze sensors will let you know if there’s an emergency.

Just remember that any monitoring devices and cameras have to be disclosed to your guests, even if you disconnect them while your Airbnb property is being used.

Keeping everything safe as an Airbnb host

There are lots of things to consider when you’re an Airbnb host, but the security of your home and your guests should be a top priority. We hope you have a better sense of how to easily add more security for yourself and a positive, safe environment for your guests. For more insights, read up on your guests’ perspectives and learn how to keep yourself safe at a hotel or Airbnb.

The people behind our research
We believe the best information comes from first-hand customer experience and methodical research by subject-matter experts. We never source information from "content farms," and we don’t generate content using artificial intelligence (AI). You can trust that our recommendations are fact-checked meticulously and sourced appropriately by authentic, industry-recognized people.
Contributing researcher
Headshot of Kate Herrick
Researched by

Kate Herrick is a freelance writer with a decade of experience, and whose goal is to create clear, useful, and informative writing, no matter the topic. When it comes to home security, Kate has researched and written about everything from professional companies and the latest home automation to fire safety, online safeguards, and personal security. When not at the computer, she is either reading or trying to keep up with her four crazy kids.

Contributing reviewer
Headshot of Eric Paulsen
Reviewed by
Eric PaulsenContent Manager

Eric Paulsen is a writer, editor, and strategist who has been creating content in the B2B, healthcare, FinTech, home security, and government sectors for more than five years. He holds an MFA in creative writing and lets everyone in his life hang that over his head. When he doesn’t have his hands deep in some piece of content, he’s either watching baseball or praying for the offseason to end quickly.

Endnotes and sources

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1. “Use of cameras and recording devices,” Airbnb Help Center. Accessed 29 November 2022.

2. “Informing guests about security devices,” Airbnb Help Center. Accessed 29 November 2022.